Australian Football - Overview

Australian Rules Football (also known as Australian Football or Aussie Rules) is a physical contact sport. It is a kind of football and has similarities to Rugby, American Football and Gaelic Football. It is one of the modern forms of football where players have to move throughout the field and they can use any part of their body to move the ball.

In this sport, two teams, each consisting of 18 players, position themselves anywhere on the field, try to handle the ball through different methods such as kicking, handballing, running with the ball and passing it through the posts, which is termed as a goal. In this sport, a team has to score more goals in comparison to the opponent to win the match.

Australian Football vs. Rugby vs. American Football

Though Australian Football, American Football, and Rugby seem to be same, there are a lot of difference among them. The rules that differentiate these three similar games are as follows −

  • In Australian Football, the field is oval shaped, but in Rugby and American Football, the field is rectangular.

  • In Rugby, the number of players in a team is 15 whereas there are eleven players in American Football and 18 players in Australian Football.

  • The number of substitutes in Australian Football is three, in Rugby 7, and in American Football, it is unlimited.

  • American Football is primarily played in the USA, Australian Football in Australia, and Rugby is played worldwide.

  • The American Football has the duration of one hour divided into four quarters of fifteen minutes each. In Rugby, the duration is of 80 minutes divided in two halves of 40 minutes each. In Australian Football, the duration is 80 minutes divided into four quarters of 20 minutes each.

Australian Football Game

The ball used in all the three sports is oval shaped. The ball used in Australian Football is similar to rugby but slightly smaller and more rounded at its ends as compared to rugby balls.

The ball is 720-730 millimetres in circumference and 545-555 millimetres in transverse circumference. In the Australian Football League, the balls are coloured red in day matches and yellow during night matches.

A Brief History of Australian Football

The origin of Australian Football is still obscure. In 1857, Tom Willis, one of the founders of Australian Football, suggested for this winter sport with a set of new rules in order to keep cricketers fit. On August 7, 1858, Melbourne Football Club was formed. Slowly the sport blossomed and in 1866, an updated set of rules were put in place and competitions started among clubs.

In 1896, Victorian Football League was established and sport was played between different clubs which were Carlton, Collingwood, Essendon, Fitzroy, Geelong, Melbourne, St Kilda and South Melbourne. By 1997, the competition comprised of 16 clubs with the league renamed as Australian Football League.

Participating Countries

Not just in Australia, the sport is also played in other countries too. The Australian Football League has official agreement with 13 other government bodies of different countries and presently at least 20 leagues exist outside Australia. The number of players outside Australia is growing day by day.